Shares of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. plunged to two-year lows in trading Monday after the drug company said its experimental treatment for colorectal cancer failed in late-stage clinical trials.
THE SPARK: Keryx announced Monday that it did not get the results it hoped for studying the use of perifosine with capecitabine to treat cases where previous treatments have failed. Patients did not live any longer on the drug combination than they did on the standard treatment, Xeloda, which is capecitabine alone.
Keryx CEO Ron Bentsur said in a statement that the company will evaluate whether to continue as planned with the phase 3 study of the same drug for patients with the bone marrow cancer multiple myeloma who responded to treatment but then relapsed and need further treatment.
THE BIG PICTURE: Keryx has licensed the North American rights to perifosine from Canadian drugmaker Aeterna Zentaris Inc., which developed it.
Keryx said that it plans to focus on its pending completion of another drug, Zerenex, in a long-term study for treatment of end-stage kidney disease. The company expects that to wrap up in the fourth quarter and said it hopes the new drug application will follow shortly thereafter.
SHARE ACTION: Shares of Keryx plunged $3.24, or 65 percent, to close Monday at $1.74. The stock hasn't traded that low since Sept. 2009.
Aeterna's shares fell $1.41, or 66 percent, to close Monday 73 cents. That's the lowest they have traded since early 2009.